Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

8 Parenting Things You Don't Realize You're Doing Because You Have Postpartum Depression

Ad failed to load

When I was first diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD), I honestly didn't believe it. You see, I didn't really feel sad. Most of the time I just felt tired, anxious, and angry. Worse, I thought feeling that way meant I was a bad mom. From the inside of my head things seemed "normal," but I learned there are actually things you don't realize you are doing because you have PPD.

All new moms obsessively count their newborn's wet and poop-filled diapers, and set an alarm to make sure their baby never goes longer than three hours without eating, right? Wrong. Guys, I had a spreadsheet. Sure, I was tired all of the time, but what new mom isn't, right? And when I tried to sleep, I couldn't. I mean, I thought it was totally normal to stare at my sleeping newborn, or want to hold him through his naps and through the night. When I did lay him down, I would stare at the monitor waiting for him to make a sound, so I could rush in and pick him up as soon as he woke.

I continued an impossible routine of breastfeeding, pumping, and supplementing, even though I freaking hated it. I became so irritable and had such a short fuse that I lost my temper about little things — like my husband coming home a few minutes late — or, honestly, nothing at all. I thought that yelling at him or feeling angry with my baby was just me being "hormonal."

Ad failed to load

It wasn't until I went to my six week postpartum visit that my midwife put all of the aforementioned together and diagnosed me with postpartum depression. I wish I would have called her sooner, because once I started treatment I started to feel like me again, and started parenting in a whole new way.

Ad failed to load

Holding Your Baby Constantly


There's a popular poem called Song For A Fifth Child by American poet Ruth Hulburt Hamilton that ends with the lines:

"The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep."

I am pretty sure she meant this to be a comment about moms relaxing because babies grow up too fast, but honestly, I freaking hate it.

You see, I totally felt like I had to hold my baby all of the time, and want to hold my baby all of the time to be a good mom. I had no idea I was doing this in part because I irrationally feared that I wasn't good for her, and also I wanted to make sure she didn't die in her sleep. Holding my baby constantly wasn't a good thing at all. It was a sign of PPD.

Experiencing "Mommy Brain"

I joked about having mommy brain, but had no idea that a foggy brain or trouble concentrating can actually, according to the nonprofit Postpartum Progress, be signs of postpartum depression. I had no idea that my difficulty remembering words, or what I had got up to do, might be a way my body was telling me something was wrong. When you thinking about it, mommy brain is scary, and not funny at all.

Using A Baby Monitor


As a new mom I was constantly on edge. Using a baby monitor seemed like a normal thing to do, and it was. Staring at the monitor obsessively because I was sure it was not working, and worrying that I wouldn't hear my baby wake up, however, was not. See also: staring at him through the video monitor for hours while he was sleeping.

Ad failed to load

Continuing To Breastfeed Even Though You Hate It

When I learned that I didn't make enough breast milk, I continued an impossible routine of breastfeeding, pumping, and supplementing with pumped milk and formula with a supplemental nursing system around the clock. This so-called "triple feeding" broke me, but I continued, believing that breastfeeding was more important than sleep or my health.

As Dr. Marlene Freeman an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School told Postpartum Progress, "For some women, breastfeeding is difficult and stressful. It is important to remember that adding distress in a situation in which a woman is at risk carries its own consequences. If breastfeeding adds to a woman’s depressive or anxious symptoms, it is reasonable to stop. Sometimes it is necessary to stop."

I so wish I had known that continuing to breastfeed was contributing to my PPD.

Losing Your Temper


Before I got treated for PPD, I was so angry and irritable. I had always thought depression meant sadness, but guys, I had such a short fuse that I lost my temper with everyone, including my mom, my partner, my other children, and even my newborn. According to Mayo Clinic, irritability and anger are common signs of PPD. I had no idea.

Obsessing About Your Baby's Diapers, Eating, Or Weight Gain

OK, so when I was handed discharge instructions at the hospital that included keeping track of wet and poop-filled diapers, feeding frequency and duration, and baby's weight gain, all to ensure that my baby was getting enough to eat, I went a little overboard. I totally thought it was normal to create a spreadsheet on my laptop and check diapers compulsively every five minutes. I set alarms on my phone to ensure that my baby ate at least every three hours, or if not, that I pumped to ensure my supply. I continued this for weeks, even though my baby was gaining weight. What I needed to do was relax and let my provider know how obsessed I was. She told me that this unrelenting anxiety can be a sign of PPD, or another postpartum mood disorder. Once I started treatment, I was able to stop obsessing.

Ad failed to load

Feeling Mom Guilt

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

Guilt seems come hand in hand with motherhood. However, I felt guilt about things that were totally not my fault — like my breastfeeding challenges — and I was unable to get past the guilt. According to Postpartum Progress, some mom guilt is normal, but if you feel an overwhelming amount of guilt, can't get past it or start to feel like your baby would be better off without you, this can be a sign of PPD, and that you need help. No matter how guilty you feel, know that you are enough and you don't have to be perfect to be a good mom.

Losing The "Baby Weight" Right Away

After my son was born, I immediately lost weight without even trying. It's no wonder, with how little I was eating. I had no idea that postpartum weight loss was a sign of PPD. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, people with PPD often experience a loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.

At the same time, our culture's bullshit ideas about "bouncing back" after childbirth can make women overlook postpartum weight loss, or even see it as a good thing. However, as I learned, you need to heal and recover way more than you need to lose the "baby weight," and that means getting adequate nutrition and asking your doctor if you can't seem to eat.

New motherhood can feel so overwhelming, but help is available. If you're struggling with depression and/or thoughts of suicide, you can reach the U.S. National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. International hotlines can be found here.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack